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Jewelry Tools

The 15-Minute Earring Tutorial

May 3, 2019

Do you have 15 extra minutes? Then you have time to make a new pair of earrings! Just combine your favorite decorative connector links with Swarovski crystal pendants to create these fast and easy earrings.

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DIY Multi Strand Leather Charm Bracelet

December 8, 2015

One of my favorite combinations when making bracelets is leather and charms! When deciding what color of leather to use, I chose turquoise because it’s a color that always calms me – plus it seems to work for all seasons. It reminds me of the beach where I would love to be! I decided to make this a multi strand bracelet because the stacked bracelet look is such a huge trend right now. To make your own version of this multi strand leather charm bracelet, read on. It’s easier than you think! Continue Reading…

Make a Tassel Necklace with Prayer Beads

November 10, 2015
People use Mala necklaces for both spirituality and fashion, and making a Mala tassel necklace with prayer beads can be easy and fun! The use of Malas or “meditation garlands” in prayer dates back 3,000 years. Traditional Malas consist of 108 prayer beads, including “marker” beads, plus a larger “summit” or “guru” bead.  During meditation, a mantra or prayer is recited 108 times — once per bead. The marker beads serve as a point to re-focus, if necessary, and the summit bead is a beginning and ending point. When you make your own DIY Mala necklace, you can incorporate gemstone beads with properties that benefit you (or your family, friends, and customers). You can also use charms with symbols of your choice and colors with special meanings. Read on for full instructions. Continue Reading…

DIY Team Spirit Earrings

August 31, 2015
With football season fast approaching, it’s time to break out your team spirit! Colorful jewelry that shows off team colors will make it easy for everyone to know who you’re cheering for! Simply swap out the Swarovski crystal colors to make earrings that support your favorite team!
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Stamp your own Longitude & Latitude Bracelets

May 5, 2015
For years, longitude and latitude coordinates have been growing in popularity when it comes to fashion. They have been popping up in tattoos, jewelry and clothing. I decided I wanted to make my own longitude latitude project, with coordinates from one of my favorite places on earth, Tulum, Mexico! You can easily do this project with any location on Earth! Simply enter your desired location plus “longitude and latitude” into any search engine, and the coordinates will come up for you!

CzechMates Memory Wire Bracelet Tutorial

September 25, 2014
I love the Picasso finishes and and unusual colors of CzechMate 2-hole tile beads and other CzechMate 2-hole beads. But it’s hard to find a project with them that doesn’t involve needles and intricate beadweaving.

So … here it is! When I discovered pliers designed for looping ends of memory wire, I decided on an ombre chevron cuff bracelet. This 4- to 6-row ombre chevron design takes advantage of the CzechMate color combinations, and is easy to “string” on memory wire. The outside row uses a few seed beads (or bugle beads) near the edges, because their sizes are so compatible with these 2-hole beads.

Memory Wire bracelet made with 2-hole CzechMate tile beads

My first 2 ombre CzechMate bracelets. Rather than wrapping the memory wire around your wrist three times like most memory wire bracelets, these are cuff bracelets.

For a petite wrist, use standard stainless steel memory wire. For larger wrists or a looser fit, use stainless steel anklet memory wire. (Don’t be swayed by the word “anklet” — it’s actually an excellent bracelet size.)

Cutting Memory Wire:

When cutting any type of wire, wear eye protection, or at least make sure your bits of wire will end up someplace safe, not in anyone’s eye. Cup your free hand over the end, and aim the wire downward at a soft surface like a flocked bead mat.

Tools and Memory Wire:

Memory wire is strong, springy steel — much tougher than most jewelry wire. It requires strong, durable tools, both for cutting and bending. I tried cutting steel wire with my cheap cutters and one blade SNAPPED, shooting across the room in 3 pieces. I also dented high quality cutters that were not designed to cut steel. I strongly suggest a pair of heavy-duty flush cutters and a pair of memory wire looping pliers. They aren’t too expensive, and they work great for lighter-duty projects as well.

Step 1. Practice Making Loops:

Although Memory Wire Pliers make it easy to make consistent-sized loops, steel wire is tougher to bend than other jewelry wire. I recommend practicing memory wire loops before you begin adding beads. This helps you make all your loops at the same angle, and avoid chipping your end beads.

CzechMate Memory Wire Bracelet - Practice

Cut four 2″ pieces (each about 1/4 of a circle). Practice making a loop at each end, with both loops on the same plane (or angle).

Memory Wire - How to Make Nice Loops

How to Make Nice Loops with Memory Wire

1. Grip one end of the wire firmly in the pliers and use your fingers to smoothly wrap the wire around the small side of the pliers. Don’t let it twist upward or downward.
2. About halfway around the pliers, release the plier grip on the wire, and get a new grip so you can finish making your circle.
3. Close the loop ALL the way — don’t leave a spot for beads to slide down inside a gap in the loop.

Repeat at other end. Grip the wire’s tip, push around, release, re-grip, and finish pushing. Take a look at your circles — are they the same size and angle, or are they twisting ickily in random directions? Make a few more until it’s easy to make nice consistent loops on the same plane. Also note that these loops are all to the OUTside of the circle, not the inside:

Memory Wire Loop - Do and Don't

For bracelet comfort, make all loops curve to the outside, not the inside of the arc.

Step 2. Assemble your beads:

Appletini TOHO Seed & Bugle Bead Mix

Appletini TOHO Seed & Bugle Bead Mix

TOHO seed bead mixes work excellently with CzechMate 2-hole tile beads. There are great color mixes to choose from, and you can use 3 large seed beads, 4 small seed beads, or a single bugle bead as perfect-size spacers.

A few beads from each assortment are too tiny to fit on memory wire, or too big to fit next to a Czechmate, so save those for future projects.

Step 3. Make the bracelet:

Cut 4 pieces of wire, each about 1-1/8 coils long (Like going all the way around the clock face from midnight to 2pm.).

3a. Cut 4 pieces of wire, each 1 to 1-1/8 coil long. Make sure they are all the same length.
Carefully round 1 end of each wire.

CzechMate Memory Wire Bracelet Step 3b

3b. For a 2-color bracelet, count out 21 tile beads of each color, in sets of 3.

For a 1-color bracelet, use approximately 42 beads. For a 3-color bracelet, count out 15 tile beads of each color in sets of 3. Lay them out in the order that you’ll use them. You might not use all the beads you laid out, but it’s easier to keep your pattern going correctly if you lay out the beads in advance.

String 1 bead.

3c. String 1 tile bead.

Pick up a 2nd wire, and string 1 bead. String a 3rd bead onto both wires.

3d. Pick up a 2nd wire, and string 1 tile bead.
String a 3rd tile bead onto both wires.

String 2nd color using same pattern.

3e. String 2nd color using same pattern.

Don't worry that the beads and strands flip and flop around at this point.

Don’t worry that the beads and strands flip and flop around at this point.

End with 2 tile beads. Make sure you have at least 1/2" (12mm) of wire left.

3f. End with 2 tile beads. Make sure you have at least 1/2″ (12mm) of wire left.

3g. After your last 2 beads, push beads snug (but not super tight), and trim wire to approx. 1/2″ if necessary. Next, very carefully round the end wires for both strands (one wire at a time). Abrupt / harsh movements may chip the end bead.

Take another of your prepared wires, and string 4 seed beads, or a single bugle bead. Place these next to your strung CzechMates … do they look good? If not, pick a different color or size and test it before you begin the next step.

Back at the beginning, feed a new piece of prepared wire through the other hole in one of your first beads.

3h. Back at the beginning, feed a new piece of prepared wire through the other hole in one of your first beads.

3i. Where the wire comes out, add 3-5 seed beads (or a bugle bead) so they are the same total length as a Czechmate tile bead or slightly shorter.

Feed through next CzechMate, add bugle or seed beads, repeat to end of bracelet.

3j. Feed through next CzechMate, add bugle or seed beads, repeat to end of bracelet.

Repeat for 4th row, trim excess if necessary, and carefully round the ends.

3k. Repeat for 4th row, trim excess if necessary, and carefully round the ends. (Click image for close-up.)

Tips & Errata:

Do your best to make the loops all face the same direction, but don’t be hard on yourself if they don’t. Here is my first bracelet, with wonky ends and a chipped bead. When I taught a class on how to make this bracelet, I introduced the “practice making loops” step, and not a single person chipped a bead!

Example of bad loops on my first memory wire bracelet.

Close-up of bad loops on my first bracelet. The tips listed above should help you make better loops and avoid chipped beads.

By my 3rd bracelet, I realized it’s much easier to finish the ends if the strands (after looping) are tiny bit shorter than one full coil, so now I design these more like cuffs than bangles.

Czechmate and Memory Wire - Finished Cuff-Style bracelets

It’s much easier to finish the ends, if each strand, after looping, is slightly shorter than one full coil, more like a cuff than the bangles I originally envisioned.

You’ll soon perfect your ability to make all your loops at the same angle. After that, these are quick and easy to make, so make a bunch for gifts or to sell!

Czechmate Memory Wire Bracelets

Variations on a theme.

Depending on the size of your spacer beads, some bracelets spike up a bit in the middle, and others curve up at the outside edges. This is part of the fun with these designs. Used in this pattern, I think the CzechMates™ Two Hole Triangle Beads look like tiny Stegosaurus / dragon spikes.

Parts & Supplies:

Any questions? Please ask! (Click on “Comments” or “Leave a Reply” below.)

Say it Your Way with Easy Metal Stamped Jewelry

September 10, 2014
You don’t have to be Frank Sinatra to do things your own way! That’s the beauty of metal stamping as a jewelry technique. Not only do you get to assemble components, you get to make your own components – and they can say whatever you want them to say!

Young Love Bracelet Tutorial

This Young Love bracelet is a perfect example of how you can easily customize jewelry with metal stamps! Click the image for a full tutorial.

Letter stamps are the perfect way to create monogram jewelry, plus jewelry with names or inspirational sayings. Design metal stamps are the perfect way to add cuteness and panache.

Hootie and the Sodalite Earrings

Learn to make these simple metal stamped earrings – just click the image above for the complete parts, ready to buy.

Designer Amy Mickelson’s “Hootie and the Sodalite Earrings” feature custom owl charms she made using an ImpressArt Metal Stamp and a JBB Antiqued Copper Plated Square Tag Charm. These JBB tags are plated especially for stampers – pretty amazing! For more on these components, see the full parts list and tutorial here.

Supplies for metal stamping a charm.

First, gather your supplies.

The basics of jewelry stamping are easy and only require a few tools. The tools are a small investment, but will last for years and thousands of impressions!

Supplies you’ll want:

The basic steps to jewelry stamping:

Getting ready to make a metal stamp impression.

Once you’ve planned your design, secure your metal tag or blank onto your steel block with tape. Stamp Straight Tape by ImpressArt is more expensive than masking tape, but it offers a sturdier edge and does not leave sticky residue.

How to get a good metal stamped impression.

Strike the perfectly vertical stamp with one firm blow. This is important for achieving a clear impression.

A successfully stamped metal blank charm.

Now you’ve got a custom made charm that’s uniquely made by you!

That’s all there is to it! It really is that simple. Then, you can use your completed stamped charms to make earrings, necklaces, bracelets, gift tags, and more!

Ava's Ladies in Waiting Necklace Tutorial

Click this picture for all the parts and instructions you need to make these pretty necklaces.

For a great monogram jewelry tutorial, see “Ava’s Ladies in Waiting” Necklace Tutorial in our Design Gallery.

Hootie and the Sodalite Earrings

Click this picture for all the parts and instructions you need to make adorable metal stamped owl earrings.

To make fun owl earrings, see the “Hootie and the Sodalite” Earrings Tutorial.

Young Love Bracelet Tutorial

Click this picture for all the parts and instructions you need to make a simple metal stamped bracelet.

For the full how-to on making a metal stamped chain bracelet, see our “Young Love” Bracelet Tutorial.

Rings & Things offers a huge variety of metal stamping blanks, plus jewelry stamping tools and supplies with fast shipping and free returns.

So what are you waiting for? Isn’t it time to say things your way! ~ Melissa